Monday, October 25, 2010

Control is an Illusion

Greetings Friends,

In my Internet travels, I came across a blog by a former college student that talked about her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) issues. She wrote that a psychologist explained OCD to her in terms of being like a flashlight: "A small, strong beam of light, rather than a broad, warm light." I like this analogy because I think it sums up the issue quite well. In total darkness, a flashlight shines a concentrated beam of light onto whatever you're poinitng it at; as opposed to a lamp or an overhead light, which is capable of partial or complete illumination.

We all know people who look at life in "black and white", choosing to ignore the gray areas. As I writer, I live for the gray areas, because in them, you find the best material. The absolutes reside in the black and white, and there isn't much you can do to change them. When you strive for total control, you believe that everyone and everything must bend to your personal will.

There are times when you have "no control"; that's a given. But having "total control" does not exist. The person who thinks they have "total control" is in some serious denial. Of course, there are armies of co-dependents that allow the individual in question to believe he or she has total control, but God help the person who comes along and attempts to challenge that person's illusion of "total control". The scenario can either resemble slamming your head repeatedly into a brick wall, or provide some serious amusement. Either way, challenging a control freak is not a pleasurable leisure time activity; it can be downright infuriating.

The more people I meet, and the better I get to know myself, the more I start to feel like there are less and less people in the world worth knowing. I always like to say, I hate people, but love individuals. The older I get the truer I find that to be. It's like the Facebook friend conundrum: does the more Facebook "friends" a person has validate their existence? You've got 200+ people you call "friends" listed on Facebook, but how many of them do you really know? Give me a handful of genuine people I know I can count on and the other 190 of them can go "friend" someone else. Instead, we (including me) keep those "friends" because we want others to see how popular we are. In a sense, we are controlling our online facade to make it seem like we're so desirable, that all these people want to call themselves our "friends". The reality of the situation is, we don't have a clue who most of them are.

Facebook is one small element in the control universe. Most control freaks don't like the Internet because it represents something they cannot control. But, if you're a control freak looking for a facade, it doesn't get any better than the electronic void. Here, you can be anyone you'd like, as long as you understand how to manipulate the image others are viewing.

The pervasiveness of technology shows us how much is actually not in our control. From a web content perspective, we're all trying to figure out Google's next step; We think we know what it might be, then Google pulls the rug out from under us and we're left groping for the proverbial flashlight. It's frustrating, and we learn to adapt; those who think they will one day conquer Google have a firm grasp on the flashlight, but a very shaky grip on reality. The rest of us just deal with it and move on.

Moving on is a very important part of life. Nothing lasts forever, including control. There comes a time when, even if you don't want to face it, you have to give up what you think you have control over and deal with reality. One person cannot rule the world. They may think they can, but the sooner they realize control is an illusion, they'll move on to something else. You just have to hope that something else is outside your personal realm, and you never have to deal with that individual again. Me? I've decided to ditch my flashlight and gather up some candles. I prefer a broad, warm light anyway.


No comments:

Post a Comment